Pokémon Go builds communications skills

Students learn different ways to communicate with Pokémon Go.
Students learn different ways to communicate with Pokémon Go.
--Photo by Christopher Gannon, via Iowa State University
The wildly popular Pokémon Go game is designed to help students exercise, but it may build communications skills as well.

     The game has been lauded for prompting students to get out of the house. It has also been the focus of controversy, as some players blunder into police stations, church buildings, etc., in search of the game's creatures.
     Beyond the game's ups and downs as a method of exercise, Emily Howell, an assistant professor at Iowa State University, believes Pokémon could be used to help students build communications skills, a university news release explains.  
      In the augmented reality game from Nintendo Co., players use smartphones to pursue and catch animated Pokémon creatures. The creatures are depicted on real-world images within the geographic area around the player. A GPS tracking system determines the student's location, and the Pokémon character is displayed on a map. The player must capture the character, using tools that come with the game, to move to the next level.
     In the process, students are tackling a problem using several different methods.
     Howell won a grant from the Center for Educational Transformation at the University of Northern Iowa to help elementary teachers in her state integrate technology into their writing lessons. While students still learn from reading books or using computer tablets, they also “need to learn how to create and upload videos or build graphics and maps to convey their message,” the news release says. Her research, published in the journal, The Reading Teacher, can be found online.


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